1. HG Ramesh is the new acting chief justice of Karnataka HC
Following the controversial resignation of Justice Jayant Patel from the Karnataka High Court recently, the President of India has appointed Justice HG Ramesh as the Acting Chief Justice of the Karnataka HC.
Justice HG Ramesh will serve as the Acting Chief Justice from October 10, after the present Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee retires on October 9.
Justice HG Ramesh enrolled as an advocate in July 1982. He practised at the Karnataka High Court from 1982 to 2003 and was appointed as an Additional Judge on May 12, 2003. He was made a a Permanent Judge on September 24, 2004.
2. Facebook India MD Umang Bedi steps down
Facebook India managing director Umang Bedi has stepped down from his position, the social networking company. Sandeep Bhushan, Director, Consumer and Media, South Asia has been appointed as the interim head.
Prior to joining Facebook, Bedi served as the managing director of the South Asia region at Adobe. Bedi is expected to start an entrepreneurial venture of his own. Bedi was not immediately available for comments. India is the second largest user base for Facebook globally, after the US.
3. Maharashtra cuts VAT by Rs2 on petrol, Rs1 on diesel per litre; calls it ‘Diwali gift’
Petrol will be cheaper by Rs2 and diesel by Re1 per litre across Maharashtra from Tuesday midnight after the state government reduced the value-added tax (VAT) on the fuels.
Making the announcement about VAT reduction on petrol and diesel today, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar termed it as a “Diwali gift” to people of the state. The revised rates will be applicable from midnight today. The move follows the Central government’s move to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs2 last week, the first tax cut on fuel by the current government, to tame rising inflation.
4. Jio Payments Bank likely to launch in December
Jio Payments Bank, a 70:30 joint venture between Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and State Bank of India (SBI), will begin operations in December.
The payments bank was expected to launch its operations in October. The launch got delayed as the RBI had asked them (Jio Payments Bank) to demonstrate its capabilities to ensure it is ready for a glitch-free launch. The launch will now be in December.
The payments bank had initially planned its launch to coincide with the delivery of its 4G-enabled Jio Phone in October. The delivery of Jio Phones has already started.
5. Gujarat cuts VAT by 4% on petrol, diesel
The BJP-led Gujarat government on Tuesday announced 4-per cent cut in the Value-added Tax (VAT) on the retail price of petrol and diesel responding to the Centre's suggestion amid escalating fuel cost. Effective midnight, the VAT reduction will bring down the price of petrol by Rs. 2.93 per litre and that of diesel by Rs. 2.72 per litre. The move will cost the state exchequer Rs. 2,316 crore annually. The state currently, levies 28.96 per cent VAT on petrol and diesel.
6. 7th Pay Commission: Govt hikes ‘dress’ allowance for diplomats, SPG officers
The dress allowance given to diplomats and elite Special Protection Group (SPG) officers, entrusted with the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former prime ministers and their families, have been hiked considerably.
The move comes on the recommendation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. SPG officers during operational duties would get Rs27,800 annually and on non-operational work would get Rs21,225 a year as dress allowance, according to an official order.
7. World Bank reduces India GDP growth forecast to 7% for 2017-18
After remaining the world’s fastest-growing region for eight consecutive quarters, South Asia has slipped to the third position behind East Asia and the Pacific regions, as India’s economy slowed to its lowest level in 13 quarters, the World Bank.
This is at a time when other South Asian nations like Bangladesh and Nepal have registered strong economic growth.
In the June quarter of 2017-18, the Indian economy decelerated to 5.7%, lowest since the economy grew at 5.3% in the March quarter of 2013-14.
In its South Asia Economic Focus (Fall 2017), the World Bank reduced India’s GDP growth forecast to 7% for 2017-18 from 7.2% estimated earlier, blaming disruptions caused by demonetisation and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), while maintaining at the same time that the economy would claw back to grow at 7.4% by 2019-20.
8. IMF cuts India’s 2017 growth forecast, but sees medium term recovery
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday pared its growth forecast for India by half a percentage point to 6.7% for 2017, blaming the lingering disruptions caused by demonetisation of high value currencies last year and the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The structural reforms undertaken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government would trigger a recovery—above 8% in the medium term.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, IMF said the world economy is going through a cyclical upswing that began midway through 2016. It raised the global growth estimate marginally for 2017 to 3.6% while flagging downside risks. The upward revisions in its growth forecasts including for the euro area, Japan, China, emerging Europe, and Russia more than offset downward revisions for the United States, the United Kingdom, and India.
9. Mudra scheme: Bengal banks disburse ?7,178-cr loans, so far this fiscal
Banks in West Bengal have disbursed close to ?7,178-crore worth loans to small and tiny enterprises so far during the current fiscal under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). The State had disbursed Mudra loans worth ?15,480.03 crore in 2016-17, a 100 per cent growth over ?7,740 crore in 2015-16.
According to NK Kapoor, GM, Corporate Account and MSME, United Bank of India, the number of beneficiaries under the various Mudra schemes in State was close to 46 lakh in 2016-17. United Bank of India is the convenor of State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC). There are three schemes under PMMY — Shishu (loans up to ?50,000), Kishor (?50,000 – ?5 lakh) and Tarun (?5-10 lakh). Of the total disbursement of ?15,480 crore, the maximum disbursement has taken place under the Shishu scheme — at close to ?10,912 crore in 2016-17.
10. RInfra enters into exclusivity pact with Adani Transmission
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure has announced entering into a period of exclusivity until January 15, 2018 with Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL) for its flagship Mumbai distribution business valued at Rs. 10,000-13,000 crore. The proposed transaction is subject to confirmatory diligence, definitive documentation, and customary approvals. Adani Group was earlier named as one of several potential buyers of RInfra's Mumbai distribution business, with other players being interested in the asset being renewable energy firm Greenko, backed by Singapore's GIC and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, CLP Group, Tata Power, Torrent Power and Fairfax Group.
So far only Greenko had confirmed it was it talks with Reliance Group for the asset.
In 2015, RInfra was in talks with Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) of Canada for the sale of stake in Mumbai business. However, the talks did not result in a deal.
Entering into exclusivity agreement with Adani group would mean that RInfra will not hold talks with any other perspective buyers till the period is over (or in case it is extended further).
11. IIT Kharagpur signs MoU with Samsung for digital academy
IIT-Kharagpur has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung India for the setting up of a digital academy on the institute’s campus.
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the institute will host the Samsung Innovation Lab and train students on the Internet of Things (IoT) through Tizen-based operating systems, commonly used by the company for its mobile phones and home appliances. The training aims to help students acquire industry-relevant skills and “become job ready”. The academy was a part of the company’s corporate social initiative that aims at bridging the digital divide in the country by imparting skills to students on cutting-edge technology.